Number 16/2019

Issue Topic: Ethics in the face of violence

List of abstracts

The articles contains a short overview of selected theories which address the issue of violence in modern philosophy until present day. An outline of these conceptions is supplemented with author’s reflection on the nature of violence.

This article has two principal aims. First, to bring some clarity to the concept of violence. Secondly, to explore the normative dimension of violence. Part One will explore three different ways to define violence: (a) as an act of force, (b) as a violation of rights, and (c) as a violation of integrity. Part Two will suggest that we can learn something about the badness of violence bad by exploring the literature on the badness od death. Part Three will suggest that the wrongness of violence can be traced back to the badness of violence.

The institution of slavery is a stain upon the history and the psyche of the Unit- ed States and its people. At its core, it was inherently reliant upon an imbalance of power between the enslaved subject and the slave owner. The enslaved individual’s capacity to assert their own will was virtually nonexistent, allowing white male slave owners the opportunity to exploit this discrepancy in order to take advantage of the enslaved women and girls under their dominion. The history of slavery in the United States is burgeoning with stories of sexual exploitation and victimization at the hands of predatory white men without a thought or care for the well-being of the women and girls they violated and abused. It is from these roots of coercion and violence that myths and stereotypes proclaim- ing the sexual immorality of black women emerged, resulting in the discrediting and discounting of their word. For centuries, white men and society at large have ignored and repressed this history in an effort to avoid blame and deny culpability, leaving black women and girls vulnerable and targets of further vic- timization—an injustice that has veritably stripped them of their right to refuse consent.

This article argues that there is a connection between radical feminist theory and the standard definition of domestic violence. Radical feminism is described through a post-Marxist dialectic in which the gender binary takes the place of the class structure. As such, radical feminism describes a conflict theory in which a struggle between genders displaces the class struggle. The conflict between genders realizes a demolition of the division between the public and private spheres as a unification of the personal-political. The standard definition of domestic violence arises from this dialectical theory. It states that domestic violence is cycle of one person attempting to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. And yet, the radical feminist vision leads to contradictions in which the gender struggle tends toward the erasure of other forms of oppression, most importantly institutional violence, heterosexism and white supremacy. The radical feminist project contains three key problems: 1) a public policy praxis leading to the strengthening of carceral systems, 2) a universalization of womanhood leading to an implicit racism, and 3) a binary dialectic leading to an explicit heterosexism. Based on the critique of radical feminism by intersectional feminism and queer theory, this paper argues that the solution is to reinvigorate the radical spirit that gave rise to the movement against domestic violence in the first place.

The following research aims to investigate the philosophical problem of violence from Foucault’s perspective. The attempt is to break from the classical paradigms on violence, founded on the repression theories, psychoanalytic theories and in terms of a war-model, because these are controversial, regardin the concept of violence. Foucault’s philosophy allows for an alternative to examine the gap in which relations of power and violence are separated. In this sense, it is possible to save Foucault’s model from the impossibility of a critique of violence in his philosophy, but at the same time, it is emphasized that this model allows a radical critique of both the philosophy of nature and of philo- sophical anthropology.

The article is a description of Emmanuel Lévinas’ metaphysical-ethical thought in the context of relativistic-atheistic criticism by Alain Badiou. According to Badiou, Lévinas’ ethical concept, which refers to the radical, Infinite Otherness of the another human being, is something absurd and impossible to implement. In the first part of the article I briefly present the most important assumptions of Lévinas. In the second part I present the critical arguments that Badiou made against Lévinas in his Ethics. In the last part, agreeing with the Lévinas’s perspective, I reject Badiou’s allegations, pointing out that agreement with Badiou means that violence has an ethical legitimacy.

When we consider ethics to be a philosophical discipline dealing with moral aspects of human actions, it needs to draw on substantial quality of will, which is freedom. Using the freedom properly is closely associated with the way human perceives good and evil. Free human creativity is being effectively and permanently developed if it is based on unshaken truth given to human. Knowing the truth goes hand in hand with accountability for and acts. Acts of love and goodness present the most impeccable way of freedom decisions realization. Love strengthens and purges our human ability to love. In the same time love reactivates and initiates the practicing of all of our virtues. It is the depicting principle, the source as well as the target of particular following of ethical ideal of good and beauty in human life. The love, which is anchored in freedom and responsibility.

The text is a continuation of author’s polemical considerations published in 2016 which concerned Polish conservative thinkers’ affirmation towards some elements of physical violence in parenting. In this article, the author examines a question which has not yet been taken up in her earlier texts: namely, the question of, so to speak, „individualistic arbitrariness in the name of Moral Law”. Although conservatives prefer community to individual and think that the community should rear and admonish the individual, this is not the case with the parent’s internal belief that the children must be spanked. Conservatives believe that in this situation no one should caution the parent to renounce spanking. This one as well as other examples – concerning not only family life but also political sphere – guide the author to a conclusion that the subjec- tive-individualistic perspective is allowed in conservative thinking as long as it does not bring about any eudaimonistic goal, but is strictly not allowed if the goal would be eudaimonistic. As the conservative author Zbigniew Stawrowski himself reveals: „Our fundamental independence from any external motives – from our sensual needs and desires as well as from pressure of social customs – the independence about which we know by means of the moral law, brings forth our primordial experience of freedom”. Paradoxically, in the name of fighting the „barbarian” subjectivists who want joyfulness, the conservative person who agree with Stawrowski’s view can usurpatorily suspend even the basic customs of savoir-vivre which really bond the community (such as greeting each other by political opponents or answering to Christmas wishes).

I start the article with a short historical outline related to the notion of a just war; then I construct a certain – maximally extensive – model of this concept. I combine this model with the concept of moderate pacifism, indicating that these concepts are not identical (some supporters of the just war could not be considered moderate pacifists, and some moderate pacifists would be will- ing to wage unjust wars, for example not started by a legitimate ruler). Then I combine the ideas of radical and moderate pacifism, referring – among other things – to the Aristotelian ethics of virtues. Moderate pacifism turns out to be the „golden mean” between militarism (the cult of war) and radical pacifism.

Richard Rorty supports the traditional distinction between humans and animals, but according to him the difference between us and other species is just the difference of degree (for example, the complexity of behaviour). Interspecific border may be transgressed trough connection on the creatures of different species by sense of solidarity as being suffer. In this way, our moral community will be again extended. This is being encored by sentimental education, which develops individual ethical sensibility. Unfortunately the opposite process is also possibly – exclusion out of “us” – community some groups in situation of threat or deficiency. Animals could be especial susceptible to this.

The concept of violence has clearly negative ratings in the contemporary Western culture; at least in the philosophical, ethical and ecological literature. Nevertheless, social and political practice not only tolerates but also accepts violence in many circumstances. A likely ambivalence surrounds the concept of help, that might seem to be the obvious opposite of violence. In order to deepen their relationship, I suggest introducing an intermediary category of powerlessness. It is a kind of a „zero point,” where the two bespoken, opposing powers would be able to negotiate their dramatic struggles, without mere hypocrisy and mere deception. Extreme opposition may also be found between cruelty and martyrdom, which complement the catalogue of these categories.

The aim of the article is an attempt to present selected aspects of ethical solidarity in politics on the example of the implementation of the idea of subsidiarity in the process of European integration. The term idea of subsidiarity and the principle of subsidiarity are used interchangeably here, according to the type of consideration, with the authors and also with intuition. We assume that there is the possibility of observing common and complementary levels of understand- ing for ethics and politics, and that this was supported by the implementation of the idea of subsidiarity in the process of establishing the European Union. This work does not exhaust the topic, but tries to be a contribution to further research.

Number 15/2018

Issue Topic: Moral status of animals

List of abstracts

Humane animal laws – the title is intentionally ambiguous. In first the case may be simply the laws of nature specified
in relation to living organisms (including especially the most organized ones), while in the second case it would concern animal rights granted to them by people through legislation.

In the paper, I try to determine the moral status of animals using the so-called anthropological criterion.

The article focuses on the problem of the ethical, legal and social aspects of euthanasia of companion animals. It considers the paradoxes that underlie both the discourse and practice and concerns, among other things, fact that euthanasia of animals is legally acceptable while the owner is the one who makes the decision for an animal. Based on the observation of pet owners forums, it analyzes the strategies associated with the emotional consequences of the decision on euthanasia, putting the question of the ability to precisely determine the optimal moment of the end of life of the animal.

The subject of the analysis relates to the  arguments justifying a positive answer to the question in title and searching for the answer to the question formulated by Dorota Probucka: What should be done to make de jure animals' rights de faco?

That fact the man belongs to the animal kingdom as one of many other species still evokes controversies.

The article is about the neccesary, minimal living conditions of popular, small animals which should be ensured.

There is an amazing similarity between the biographies and worldviews of Singer and Miłosz. They were born in the early 20th century in the Russian partition, emigrated to America and became laureates of the literary Nobel Prize (although they remained loyal to their native “parties” and languages). And at the same time, Plato’s supporters (convinced that nature is not everything), tendencies to emanationism and panentheism, with a strong blend of ecstasy with beauty and horror of the cruelty of nature. What both leads to the main question of the theodicy “unde malum?”. In other words: how to reconcile faith in the God-creator with the enormity of evil in the world. Both of them accented – thinking about evil – animal suffering and the cruel mechanism of evolution. This leads Miłosz to the concept of a suffering God (“The Universe for Him as the Crucifixion”). Singer, in turn, proclaimed the “religion of protest”, of which vegetarianism was an essential ingredient.

This text discusses ethical dilemmas arising around animal organ transplantation procedures. Major ethical dilemmas are identified based on two sources: 1) some scientific sources documenting renal transplantations in cats and dogs, 2) recent information on successful renal transplantation in dog- procedure conducted in Poland, 3) public discussion presented in media around this recent Polish transplantation case. There is a quite significant number of ethical questions around organ transplantation in animals, and they are worth to be considered prior actual procedures being conducted and legally framed. Such discussion will prevent legal misinterpretations but also it will ensure highest ethical standards in performed procedures. This is extremely important for both animal welfare and maintaining status of veterinary doctors as profession of public trust.

The article is one of the many voices on the topic of changing the people’s approach to hunting in the modern word.

The article presents issues related to education in the field of animal ethics

In the article the author, following the thoughts of Hans Jonas, discusses the issues of omnipotence, justice and comprehension of God in the context of atrocities committed by the Nazis on Jewish people. Is there a possibility of other solution of the problem of theodicy than the one Jonas proposes? Is it a strictly theological problem or a philosophical one as well? The context for author’s own reflections in this field will be provided by evoking analysis of thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Jonathan Sacks and Hannah Arendt.

The article is an attempt to present the philosophy of dialogue as a philosophy of hope. The object of hope is the trialogue, namely the formula of dialogue is extended to include the Third, who, without being directly involved in the dialogue, can not be identified with either transcendence or the subjective dimension. At the beginning of the article, the dialogical principle (Ebner, Buber, Lévinas) is presented. It is emphasized that each of the philosophers of dialogue associates the reference of Man to Man with the dimension of vertical transcendence, which allows colligating dialogue with hope (Marcel). Then the dialogical principle is criticized because of the lack or insufficient role of the Third, who is external to the dialogical relation. The last part of the article is an attempt to positively outline the figure of the Third – a distant, foreign, unknown Man, who, however, by the power of love, cannot be unnoticed. Therefore, hope is the hope of overcoming the divisions which, by fulfilling themselves in the divine pleroma of love, can (and must) take place in the current interpersonal reality.

Number 14/2017

Issue Topic: Ethical Education

List of abstracts

There is a fundamental distinction in the history of philosophy, which can be described as a sympathy for unity (vision of being without borders) and sympathy for multiplicity. This distinction also occurs in thinking about the human world; some would like to see unified humanity, others as diverse as possible. Both approaches have their weaknesses. In this article, I will focus on the dis- advantages of a pluralistic attitude, having their source in tolerance understood superficially or infinitely.

The article is an attempt to answer the following and related questions: 1) whether vegan studies are already established as an academic field, with a group of researchers consciously referring to such a categorization of their scientific activity and whether veganism is an object of research that can be defined and studied 2) whether vegan studies should be a new academic field and what are possible benefits of its establishment.

In the article one showed the development of ethical rules with relation to of the biosphere and all living creatures, in opposition to the anthropocentric ethics. One showed sources of ethical rules – the human sensibility (the empathy) and the scientific knowledge. The man created the biocentric ethics, however often too her usage hides the anthropocentrism. One evidenced the magnitude of suffering, what the man causes to animals and one based the necessity of directing himself with the compassion in suffering of the animal, so with rules of the pathocentric ethics.

The article presents a deep study of Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy, philosophical anthropology and political philosophy. The second goal of the author is to explain why is ethics essential for wester civilisation’s survival, according to Leszek Kołakowski. Does Kant in fact provide us with arguments in contemporary bioethical disputes.

Mass media are now so deeply anchored in public life, that they are ascribed the position of “the first government“. They have become the mysterious and great world of man. In their extensive function mass media are either the holders of varied good, intended for individuals and society, or a factor of widespread evil. The media enslave the human mind so that they serve the political and social groups, which exploit us. Various forms of manipulating, which cause degradation of the personality of man and contribute to the actual brainwashing, are today the challenge for competent professionals and scientists, to the expeditious solution to the problem of mass means of communication. So called “new philosophy of communication” plays a very important role in this process – liberty does not mean only freedom and liberalism, but it means the truth and responsibility.

The concept of virtue was the fundamental idea of the initial Academy established by Plato and his fellows. Virtue was not only a subject of philosophical debates. It was the essential philosophical practice, a prerequisite and a necessary condition of philosophical knowledge. A theoretical consideration of the nature of virtue was only an auxiliary mean of obtaining it in practice, and practical virtue was not a goal as such, rather it was a way to order and harmonize one’s living. This harmonization, becoming virtuous, or, to state it otherwise, becoming good, was a means of obtaining the knowledge of the good. One cannot know what virtue is without being virtuous. One cannot know the good without being good. Hence in the initial Academy all philosophical knowledge, including metaphysical knowledge, was based on practical experience and self-knowledge. One can claim that the later detachment and crisis of metaphysics and the abstraction of philosophical problems from practical life was a result of the loss of the central role of virtue in philosophical life and philosophical education.

The article presents two closely related issues from the perspective of the famous German thinker Robert Spaemann. These are: the issue of love and the perspective it reveals, i.e. the realization of a person’s personal existence. Selected aspects of Spaemannowska’s theory of love were presented: understanding love, its personal nature, antinomies appearing in it, and reference to joy. It was emphasized that the concept of love is based on a specific vision of human being.

In the context of the transformation of post-communist European countries, we consider teaching ethics in schools to be a perpetual and urgent task. One reason is life in an open society, which directly confronts one with a panorama of various, oftentimes contradictory ethical attitudes and moral bases. The axiologically and morally disoriented cultural environment of the V4 countries is currently faced with significant ethical challenges, which can only be overcome through a deeper analysis from the perspective of moral philosophy. International Student Assessment, PISA, have brought the most attention to problems with comprehensive reading among students in Slovakia. As a consequence, ethical formation of the young generation becomes much more difficult. This study presents an analysis of the well-known Machiavellian slogan in a broader ethical context with an ambition to join the discourse on the fundamentals of morality through presenting relevant stimuli and current arguments.

Część I: Edukacja Etyczna

Pochwała jedności oraz pochwała wielości a tolerancja (esej o dwóch skrajach)
Jacek Breczko

(DOI 10.24917/20838972.14.1)

Studia nad weganizmem – nowy obszar badawczy
Dariusz Gzyra

(DOI 10.24917/20838972.14.2)

Etyka wobec zwierząt. Teorie versus praktyka
Honorata Korpikiewicz

(DOI 10.24917/20838972.14.3)

Czy diabeł może być zbawiony? Leszek Kołakowski czyta Kanta
Anna Szklarska

(DOI 10.24917/20838972.14.4)

Mass Media and Manipulation – ethical considerations
Mária Klobušická

(DOI 10.24917/20838972.14.5)

Metamorfozy pojęcia cnoty w Akademii
Andrzej Serafin

(DOI 10.24917/20838972.14.6)

Miłość i urzeczywistnienie się osoby ludzkiej w ujęciu Spaemanna
Józef Kożuchowski

(DOI 10.24917/20838972.14.7)

The End Justifies the Means – Ethical Analysis

Number 13/2017

Issue Topic: Ethical Education

List of abstracts

The article attempts to criticize the hunting ethics and etiquette in Poland, in the context of Schweitzer’s ethics and psychological attitude towards hunting. The first thesis of the current article is: social group of hunters fulfills the requirements of secular sect. The second main thesis, corresponding with the first, claims: hunting ethics and etiquette are strategies to mask killing, which is being done in order to entertain oneself. In other words, tradition and ethics values mask interim hedonistic values. The main core of reflexion is deconstruction of factors, that condition actual situation of hunting. These factors are some fundaments of a secular sect. During the article, after a brief consideration of Schweitzer’s ethics, I will explain some attributes common for a sect and hunting groups. Later on in the article, I will provide some forms of how a sect masks the fact of killing by manipulation of publicity, language, or rituals. In conclusion I will provide a couple of propositions, if it is possible to solve the problem of hunting in Poland.

This article is devoted to analyzing and interpreting different images of animals in short stories in the 2nd part of 19th century. There are three major factors that have influence on their image. First is connected with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. In The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection Darwin indicates that human’s existence is connected with nature. People appeared on the Earth as a result of evolution. Second factor is associated with The Animals’ Care Company which appeared in 19th century. People started to be more empathic for non-humans. Writers in their short stories present poor animals that are victims of poverty and human’s violence (in Woły by Świętochowski, Pod sztychami by Prus, Psia dola by Dygasiński). Third factor is the result of social transformation in the 2nd part of 19th century. People who lived in villages were forced to change their place of living to nd work in big cities. They decided to take care of pets which were a kind of symbol of connection with nature.

Eberhard Grisebach’s works contribute to the dialogical concept of responsibility as an essence of the real relation with the Other. The article aims at exposing the meaning of the temporal aspect of this concept. Temporality is basically the central phenomena of ontological characteristics of humanity. Therefore it should also be comprehended as the central phenomena of our ethical characteristics. My analysis aims to prove that this profound understanding of temporality is the condition of Grisebach’s crucial concept of „ethical reality” as it is precisely the condition of clear opposition of I and You (the past is the reign of I while the future is the domain of You). Therefore the new understanding of temporality enables dialogical, positive understanding of responsibility which is no longer the matter of past and guilt, but first and foremost the matter of future and task.

The article presents the most important issues of personal thoughts and studies on violence conducted by a contemporary German sociologist and philosopher Jan P. Reemtsma with reference to other theorists of this problem, mainly Jean Amery and Hannah Arendt. The goal of the article is therefore to present this domain of Reemtsma’s thought especially regarding his postulated classification of various forms of violence, the theory of violence as a communication triad and anthropological as well as social consequences of violence in modern world.

The article presents an ethical issue of nonverbal communication with a special emphasis on negotiations. This is an interesting research problem for two reasons. First of all, nonverbal communication experiences a revival due to various scientific articles and popular science literature (guides) where ways of interpretation of signals of human body are discussed so that they are consciously monitored. On the other hand, these signals are mainly used to fulfill particular interests. It is important to note that humans use nonverbal channels in communication subconsciously, especially while negotiating. Both processes have one common aspect that is we use nonverbal channels almost every day not being aware of them (e.g. while bargaining for goods at the market, when having a chat with a neighbor, or when negotiating with family members or coworkers). Dis- cussing ethical issues in communication, especially in negotiations, is an interest- ing alternative form in contrast to articles which present only the use of nonverbal channels in interpersonal communication where contrastive interests meet. Those interests involve people who are consciously trained in nonverbal communication and use deceitful tactics to decipher needs and motives of the speaker as well as people who consciously mislead the speaker to fulfill their own aims.

The premise of the current article is this: Business Ethics and CSR academic courses relying solely on lectures are inappropriate to the essential purpose of the subject, given its applied nature. During the article, after a brief consideration of business ethics teaching theory, I will explain my business ethics teaching model, which is founded on the conviction that in Business Ethics courses, ethical decision-making process must be practiced by participants, not solely lectured about, in order to make academic business ethics education more effective. Later on in the article, I will provide specific data on tools used in business ethics decision-making training, and refer to the feedback of participants of my teaching program to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a more practical, teaching approach within this scope. In conclusion, I will provide a short summary of business ethics moral dilemma module preparation, stressing the importance of group work, simulation, role-playing and debating by participants, for a developed, critical discussion.

The relationship between the invention of a photography and a bicycle would seem remote, but there are some common phenomena connecting these two inventions. While photography is not questioned as an imagining eld, a mi- metic reality, in the first decades of its existence it was not treated as a domain of art. In turn, the appearance of the bicycle and its use in the 19th century has had a positive reception, but only within limited social acceptance. The differentness of this artifact caused widespread dislike, often supported by pseudo moral argumentation. This article deals with two technical inventions; the first one promotes and illustrates the dissemination of the other, and often it has not only documentary value (the issue of photography as a carrier of memory), but also aesthetic (hence the translation of Paul Valéry’s statements).

Number 12/2016

Issue Topic: The elderly, anthropotechnics and the seminar

List of abstracts

Dementia disorders, which are a growing problem among today’s aging population, influence the affected patients’ ability to make decisions.

The varied and unpredictable course of dementia makes it impossible to state with any certainty when and to what extent the patients’ autonomy and competence will be diminished.

Patients’ advance directives allow them to extend their will to the point in the future when their current decision-making capacity is no longer viable. These directives are an important component of an overall plan of care, but respecting their contents may raise dilemmas arising from inconsistencies between the previously expressed wishes and more recent directives made by patients with a limited ability to take independent decisions.

The aim of this study is to discuss selected issues related to the functioning of patients’ advance directives in the case of people suffering from dementia.

This article discusses the social and health problems of elderly women in light of the research to date. The author attempts to highlight the problems of these women within the context of elderly male problems and the social settings of the city and countryside. The beginning of the article includes an explanation of the concepts of old age and aging. The author continues by describing the demographic situation of Poland in contrast to other European countries and by focusing on such phenomena as the feminization and singularization of old age. The main body of the article includes a discussion of such selected problems of elderly women as health, economic and nursing issues and violence against older women.
The demographic situation in Poland and throughout the world compels the representatives of the social sciences and humanities to take a greater interest in the issue of older people living in the post-modern world. This age group demonstrates increasing readiness to participate in social and civic life. What is crucial here is skilled support and education on the aging process and old age. This education must reach not only the beneficiaries of such assistance but also their social environment. Nursing homes should promote a person’s natural (internal) resources. The key task now is integration through seniors’ own participation and engagement. The network of mutual relations in a nursing home and a range of treatment initiatives are the keys to residents’ personal development.
Sports allow the elderly to add life to their years, accept themselves, accept their position in society as well as restore and improve their bodies’ performance. Some individuals, however, tend to avoid this, in defiance of the stage of life in which they find themselves. As the old Polish proverb states, “A healthy mind in a healthy body”, so seniors should participate in activities that stimulate their bodies to exercise better control over their minds.

Senior citizens who actively participate in sports represent a new lifestyle in retirement, which can be described as multi sports activity. This is marked by self-acceptance while developing their physical fitness, regular activity, discipline, a responsible approach to the body (health), the need for social contact with others like themselves (e.g. through participation in sports events), consistently overcoming the barriers of social consciousness, maintaining a proactive approach in other areas of life (not just sports, but everyday life as well), kindness, joy, optimism and inexhaustible energy reserves and mutual kindness (a lack of unhealthy competition).

This article presents and analyzes the concept of anthropotechnics in the philosophy of Peter Sloterdijk, enabling the author to develop his own theory of culture. This concept of culture represents a view of symbolic systems as anthropotechnical tools that influence and aim to shape a human being. The article identifies the theory of culture appearing in Sloterdijk’s work based on the genetic method, which is grounded in the concept of anthropotechnics. At the same time, the work focuses on the study of the ethical implications of anthropotechnics appearing in two fields distinguished in the article: objective and subjective. This paper represents a contribution to the study of the origin of humanity. It reveals the controversial nature of Sloterdijk’s theory, which is led by the ideal of a perfectionistic attitude towards life along with the paradoxes (outlined in the work) resulting from this ideal in real-life practice. The final part of the article includes a discussion of Sloterdijk’s philosophical theses and distills the thinker’s ethical stance.

Number 11/2016

Issue Topic: Death, Dying and Grief

List of abstracts

The title “doctors of grief” refers to the observation of Philippe Aries. In the late 20th century, he described how religious officials have been replaced in Western society by doctors of grief, meaning the funeral directors and masters of ceremony whose role is to perform grief therapy on the bereaved family. In most Western societies, Christian churches have lost their monopoly on conducting funerals. Although the number of secular ceremonies in Poland is relatively small (approximately 2 to 5 percent of all funeral ceremonies), their presence in a country with such deeply rooted Catholicism, which plays the role of a cultural religion, may be considered evidence of the socio-cultural changes now taking place. As the authority of the religious institutions traditionally responsible for these rites waned, the main reference point for many people became the self. A commercial mechanism arose: the individual preferences of “clients” determine the “product”. With this perspective in mind, this article references the Stark and Bainbridge Religious Market Theory, according to which religions and secular meaning-creating perspectives compete on the market of ideas like companies. The primary aim of this article is to analyze the socio-cultural contexts of the services of these secular masters of ceremony and identify the core and distinctive features that distinguish them from religious funeral ceremonies.
This article discusses three films by Małgorzata Szumowska on death and dying and their contemporary reception. They include the 2006 documentary A czego tu się bać? [Nothing to Be Scared of], 33 sceny z życia [33 Scenes from Life] (2008) and Body/Ciało (2015). These pictures are linked by the presence of death, which, though expressed using disparate devices of film rhetoric, is still uniformly palpable, even if obscured and hidden. The analysis presented here demands a certain shift in thinking about death: it is not completely eliminated from the social imagination. Death, which is today dismissed and marginalized, also intrigues us, awakens the individual imagination and triggers anxiety along with a simultaneous desire to get closer to it and study its mystery. Such a direction is also noticeable in the work of Szumowska. This is especially true of the three films mentioned previously, which may be analyzed independently of one another. However, presented as a triptych, they point to contemporary means of understanding death, its adaptation and attempts to either grow accustomed to or flee from it.

This article represents an attempt to examine the literary depiction of suicide. The point of departure for this critical literary and pedagogical analysis will be the stories of two heroines from the work of Eliza Orzeszkowa, who took their own lives in the novels Cham (The Boor) and Marta – namely, the characters Franciszka Chomcówna and Marta Świcka. The article also aims to illustrate Bernard Mandeville’s words: “There are things that a man may have a stronger aversion to than suicide.” Chomcówna cannot find her place in the rural community. She is unable to accept her husband’s true love and forgiveness of her past mistakes. In turn, Świcka is unable to find her place in society after the death of her husband. She fails to find work, and gradually starts “going downhill” along with her sick daughter. Both characters end their lives in tragic circumstances.

This article presents a positive view of grief as a symbolic overcoming of death. This concept of grief juxtaposes death with the dimensions of meaning, time and ethics. At the same time, grief remains characterized as a process that plays out on the plane of the individual psyche, as seen in the work of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein. In analyzing these psychoanalytic viewpoints, the assumptions and premises of these theories are compared to show both their limitations and revelatory powers. While Freudian theory depicts grief as a natural reaction to the loss of an object ending with separation from that object, Klein presents the complexities of the inner world of the individual, revealing objects existing inside the psyche in a form embedded in mental (negative and positive) representations, while the task of the individual is to contrast these inner images with the real objects and with the threat of their loss, the latter causing a return to the depressive position of childhood. At the same time, Klein’s concept assumes the possibility of overcoming this depressive position in grief. Here we have a positive view of grief, which has been developed on an anthropological level by Alfonso Maria di Nola, who provided theoretical justification for an attempt at a positive interpretation of the significance of grief as a symbolic victory over death – a view that represents the theme of this article.
The article aims to depict the consequences of Emmanuel Levinas’ relational understanding of death, considered within the context of substitution, which can be understood in two different dimensions: individual and normative. In the former, the subjectivity surrenders to the Other completely, with no expectation of reciprocity. In the normative realm, however, substitution is the only choice the subjectivity has that would define its identity. The subjectivity only finds this identity in substitution; otherwise, it slips into il y a, losing its form and any possibility of personal development. In substitution, the subjectivity’s identity is shaped via a dynamically developing relationship with that which is other. One form of otherness is death. However, the impossibility of substitution in one’s own death puts the subjectivity in a paradoxical situation: an identity developed in relation to the Other becomes suspended at the moment of personal death, which comes from another ontological order. Death and dying situate the subject’s identity beyond the borders of its own existence.

Number 10/2015

Issue Topic: Pediatric palliative care

List of abstracts

This article aims to depict the meeting of two people leading to the realisation of the concept of home hospice care for children: the meeting of a physician and a person whose life has been influenced by the person and thought of Fr. Prof. Józef Tischner. The physician’s approach to medicine that we wish to portray in this article is very close to Józef Tischner’s thought, even though he or she is not involved with it on a daily basis. For the past ten years, this meeting has thus taken place each day in the practice of home hospice care for children, whose patron is Józef Tischner. The individual faith of the physician, which reveals his or her approach to sick and dying young patients, to people, to the role of medicine and the significance of the singular challenges arising from these young patients is for us a pretext for taking up the problem of the meeting point of two people, of the tragic nature of being human in the world, of the drama that plays out between the physician or nurse and psychologist and the dying young person and of his or her existence in the face of death, all by considering them according to the values left by our patron.

These considerations also aim to show that Tischner’s proposal of the meeting of two people is governed by the same dramatic principles as the meeting between the physician and patient as well as the physician and patient in the face of his or her inevitable death. This arises and emanates from a reversal of the current order in medicine, and even in philosophy, in which personal freedom comes de facto before that of another human being. A reversal of this pattern also points to a new understanding of responsibility towards the other, here “standing” face-to-face with his or her own death, which becomes apparent in the proper understanding of accompanying the other person.

It should also be emphasized that the very topic of death was taken up by Tischner in a globally new way, and his illness and existence in the face of death became a confirmation and personal testament to the importance of these views.

The great progress that has been made in medicine in recent years, particularly in intensive therapy, which has enabled the replacement of insufficiently functioning vital organs with modern medical technology, even for several months, has made it possible to keep critically ill patients alive, including significantly premature children with various genetic disorders or severe congenital defects that make it impossible for them to live independently. The chance of the effective treatment of many illnesses is significantly higher today than even a few years ago. These seemingly limitless therapeutic possibilities are unable to change reality, however. In many situations, physicians must still admit they are helpless in the face of the seriously ill for whom nothing more can be done. We refer here to situations in which admiringly tenacious therapy (as popularized by the media) aiming to save everyone, always, even when it is unable to ensure the patient’s return to health, makes it so that emergency treatment can only worsen the patient’s already-poor quality of life. The steady progress in medicine that we see unfolding before our very eyes is constantly shifting the boundaries of medical intervention. However, the enormous treatment possibilities afforded by contemporary medicine more and more often give rise to questions of what the “strict limits of medical intervention” are or should be.
This article aims to present the idea of perinatal palliative care, which may also be described as perinatal hospice care. This is a relatively new field of medicine that began in the 1990s, and since that time has grown both in Poland and around the world. While relying on the principles of palliative care, the field has its own specific nature, resulting from the fact that the focus is on the pregnant woman awaiting the birth of a terminally ill child. The current technologization of medicine and the possibilities it affords of diagnosing severe damage to the fetus, as well as artificially extending the child’s life, poses an ever greater number of ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas are related to decisions concerning human life and death. One of the answers may be abortion legislation, which—including in Poland—allows for the termination of a pregnancy with a severe diagnosis. Yet legal regulations also extend into practice. Numerous specialists working with pregnant women expecting to give birth to a terminally ill child recommend or even force the women to terminate the pregnancy, often presenting it as the only viable solution and thereby limiting the parents’ independent and fully conscious choice.

The idea of perinatal hospice arose as a necessary alternative, giving hope and realistic support to parents who decide to continue the pregnancy and accompany their child for the duration of its life—often limited to the mother’s womb—until the child’s natural death. A family under perinatal hospice care can count on psychological support starting from the moment of the unfavourable diagnosis and continuing even after the death of the child. The hospice care team also includes doctors of various specialties who accompany the family through the individual stages: during the pregnancy, during birth, and also as the child is dying. Between the options to terminate the pregnancy and thus take the life of a terminally ill child, and to artificially extend the child’s life, both of which are possible and often practiced in contemporary medicine, there also exists the choice provided by perinatal palliative care, which aims to provide a dignified life and death for the sick child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics indicates the goal of children’s palliative care to be “to add life to the child’s years, not simple years to the child’s life”. This statement represents the quintessential idea of palliative care for terminally ill children. The primary goal of such care is to improve the patient’s quality of life, to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, relieve pain and provide psychological and spiritual support to the sick person and his or her loved ones.  By definition, this support of the patient’s loved ones does not end with the patient’s death, but also covers the grieving period. It is not possible to mandate a strict starting point of palliative care for the patient or its conclusion with the person’s loved ones. Based on four randomly chosen patients of the Father Józef Tischner Children’s Hospice in Krakow, we would like to demonstrate the key treatment points affecting the duration of palliative care and its later course. The diagnosis of a terminal illness that significantly shortens the patient’s life is difficult both for the attending physician and the patient’s family. Properly communicating such a diagnosis reduces stress on the family and speeds up the process of acceptance of the illness, and thus the decision to implement palliative care. The second difficult stage is the progression of the disease and the emotions it provokes in the patient, his or her family and medical staff. A lack of acceptance of the incurable nature and mortality of the disease by the attending physician leads to the use of futile measures to diagnose and treat the disease, which in turn extends the patient’s dying phase. In turn, a lack of consent to the death of a terminally ill child leads to a pathological cycle of grief among the child’s loved ones. Such behaviour also results in professional burnout among medical staff. Placing the patient and his or her closest family under individualized care that includes elements of palliative care at the moment the terminal illness is diagnosed would make it possible to reduce stress, alleviate the side effects of medication and, when causal treatment fails, allow a smooth transition to procedures aimed at relieving symptoms and maintaining the patient’s quality of life. At the same time, our analysis of the individual cases allows us to demonstrate that the health care system in its current form still fails young patients diagnosed with a terminal illness. The work of institutions like home hospice can in some way supplement the system and limit the scope of its failure. Unfortunately, we continue to observe that awareness in both society and the medical community, broadly understood, remains too low when it comes to the methods and range of care provided by a hospice care team to a terminally ill child and his or her loved ones.

The Father Joseph Tischner Children’s Hospice in Cracow supports terminally ill children, their families, and parents who have experienced the death of their child. The specific profile of childhood diseases requiring palliative care demands a special approach in pediatric hospice care. The most frequent disabilities in children are due to congenital diseases connected with progressive neurodegeneration and with a long-term course of unexpected deterioration and a sometimes unpredictable life span. Late-stage cancer is less frequent in pediatric hospice care. The prolonged duration of the terminal state in severe children’s diseases, a progressive loss of vital functioning and the need for parental devotion to the care of the affected child all limit everyday family life, present barriers to social and economic advantages, and many times lead to stigma.  Pediatric hospice care focuses on the child’s and family’s well-being within the realities of the disease. Here we present the findings of a survey conducted among 54 parents of severely affected children treated in home-based hospice care and of parents who lost their children to incurable diseases. The questionnaire concerned their lives and financial situations as well as personal and social issues connected with the experience of the disease and the child’s death. Disability’s impact on everyday family life was demonstrated, as well as financial limitations and the availability of institutional aid. Possible personal and societal influences on the borderline situation of those who experience a child’s incurable disease and death are discussed. Finally, we attempt to analyse the issue of identifying problems and supporting the family in home-based pediatric palliative care.
The death of a child is an extremely difficult experience. This is especially true nowadays, in times of great progress in medicine, when a child’s death is considered to go against the natural order of things. While the death of an elderly family member is usually met with grief, yet taken naturally, the death of a child is always a severe interruption to a family’s existence.

The aim of the following work is to present the ways in which a family may accept the death of a child, based on the personal observations and experiences of staff at the Father Józef Tischner Children’s Hospice in Kraków.

Over the years 2011-2014, ninety-four children met the criteria for admission to home hospice. Eighty-four of them were diagnosed with an untreatable, chronic terminal illness and ten of them were diagnosed with cancer. During the period presented, twenty-eight of these patients died. Four case studies are presented.

We are all aware that there is no universal way to prepare for the death of a child. Each family deals with this situation in their own way. It is not possible to predict nor to direct the relatives’ reactions. Therefore, the hospice staff’s primary task is to support and accompany the family during and after the child’s death, as well as to protect the patient against any ineffective or exaggerated medical procedures while facing the terminal stages of the disease. Mutual trust, developed over the course of palliative care, seems to be the most important factor.

Background: Social stigmatization is a multidimensional phenomenon, which undoubtedly has negative effects on the individual or social group. It is defined as the process of depreciation of a certain group of persons arising from stereotypes and cognitive distortions that have been formed on the basis of incomplete, unverified knowledge. As a result, a person “marked” by the stigma is perceived as inferior. The consequences of such a stigma are considered in numerous studies. Researchers have mentioned such effects as: social isolation, self-stigmatization and a decline in self-esteem and in the level of acceptance of the disease.

Methods: Fifteen persons under the care of the Infectious Disease Clinic were included in the study. The patients were divided into three equal groups: 1) patients undergoing peginterferon alfa ribavirin therapy, 2) patients post ineffective peginterferon alfa ribavirin therapy, 3) patients who had achieved SVR. Data was collected on the basis of semi-structured interviews. The material obtained was analysed in accordance with the grounded theory paradigm.

Results: Respondents mentioned stigma as a variable corresponding to a decrease in the quality of life. Its source was perceived in: 1) misidentification of the hepatitis C virus (HCV = HIV), 2) the image of the disease created by the mass media (“lethal virus”, “silent killer”), 3) stereotypes about people suffering from liver problems (“people with liver disease are drunkards”). The negative effects of stigma included: 1) deterioration of social support, 2) social isolation 3) limited access to basic health care 4) adverse emotional consequences (fear, sadness, anger) 5) self-stigmatization

Conclusions: This study, though small, allowed us to gather extensive material on the functioning of patients with chronic hepatitis C. It should be noted that the interviewees define themselves as being “marked” by the stigma of the disease, which corresponded with numerous negative consequences for both their mental and social situation. It is worth emphasizing that the above-mentioned consequences contribute to a decline in the welfare of the individual and indirectly hinder the healing process.

Background: A person’s illness has an influence on his or her entire family system and each of its members (Świętochowski, 2010). The need to adapt to this non-normative situation affects their quality of life, meant here as life satisfaction. We can find a number of studies on the specific nature of the problems experienced by parents of sick children or those who have sick parents. However, very little research has been done on the quality of life for siblings of children with chronic diseases. The experiences of people cooperating with sick children’s families point to the different, specific way of life of such a family. Over the years, healthy siblings are brought up in the shadow of the disease. Consequently, the aim of this study is to present the specific problems they experience and to use this knowledge to help create a support network for them.

Study: The study was carried out as part of a master’s thesis in 2013 (unstructured interview, based on grounded theory methodology) and involved eighteen siblings of children with four types of chronic diseases: incurable genetic and neurological diseases, oncological diseases, mental disorders and diabetes.

Results: Based on the research, ten areas of life have been selected in which the impact of the disease is most apparent:

1.     An internal world often filled with feelings of fear, sadness and remorse.

2.     Relationships with the sick sibling – strong empathy with him/her.

3.     Entanglement in the sick siblings’ life.

4.     Relationships with parents- an unfulfilled need for contact and intimacy.

5.     Relationships with peers- sense of difference, withdrawal.

6.     Low self-esteem.

7.     The role of the family hero.

8.     Worsened physical well-being.

9.     Financial problems.

10.  Difficulties in school.

Discussion: Despite the small sample, we gathered a large amount of data on the specificity of the problems experienced by siblings of sick children. The findings show that, over the years of chronic disease, the siblings experience many difficulties that often limit their opportunities for development and impede their entrance into adulthood. Awareness of these difficulties should encourage consideration of assistance programs to improve their quality of life and increase their social opportunities.

Number 9/2015

Issue Topic: Old age – sociological, pedagogical and cultural aspects

List of abstracts

Poland is one of the European countries that has reached the stage of an aging society, meaning the share of older members (over 65 years of age) in the total population is increasing. This phenomenon is characteristic of highly developed countries and is the result of various demographic, economic and cultural factors. Among these, the most important are: a low birth rate, a high and increasing life expectancy, a high level of medical and preventive treatment and the existence of an efficient social security system, pensions and retirement plans. An aging society leads to an imbalance between the young and old populations and produces serious consequences, mainly economic and social in nature. The primary aim of this article is to present the problem of Poland’s aging society, along with its causes, determinants, consequences, forecasts for the future and corrective actions that have been proposed or implemented in the area of social policy.
In today’s changing demographic situation, the state must mobilize all available means to meet the challenges of old age in the 21st century. The rise in the number of people of non-working age and longer lifespans result in a greater need for health care and medical services as well as an increased need for social security benefits. In order to ensure a rewarding life for seniors, one must first recognize the problem of discrimination, which often affects older persons, and in its many overlapping forms creates the ideal conditions for marginalization of the elderly, and even their permanent exclusion from society. The fight against social exclusion is a difficult one, and it usually involves institutional support alongside attempts to overcome the causes and effects of such exclusion. Hence the urgent need for systemic changes that would strengthen seniors’ position in demanding their dignified treatment, independence and empowerment.

There is still much to be done in Poland with regard to the implementation of a new, ‘European’ model of retirement. Various limitations, first among them being financial ones, create a feeling of isolation amongst seniors – a sense that they have been pushed into the background of social life and excluded. Paying attention to the quality of extended life is thus a challenge for the government and society as a whole.

The present article reflects on the issue of building social networks that facilitate the creation of numerous and diverse social situations and the establishment of relationships between individuals. A lively social life and activity not only within the family,but also participation in community life and spending one’s freetime actively result in accumulated memories. Such reminiscences arising in late adulthood play a uniquely important role. They find their creative reflection in so-called memory boxes, which I refer to as visual journals. Social networks of seniors and their hobbies and interests, the support they receive, their acceptance of their own old age and the visual journals resulting from those activities are all predictors of a high quality of life.
The elderly are often perceived as weak and defenseless. In the coming years, the number of seniors will increase dramatically. This article summarizes and collects knowledge on various kinds of stereotypes and theories that contribute to the negative image of older people. Examples counteracting such stereotypes will also be presented.
In this article the author draws attention to the specifics of Polish Universities of the Third Age (U3A). The first U3A was founded in Poland in Warsaw in 1975 by Professor Halina Szwarc (1923-2002), a gerontologist.

U3A operate in Poland according to the French and English models. In rural areas, they are often mixed models due to economic and political conditions. Local governments often treat U3A as the region’s calling card, yet their main mission is to fight ageism-discrimination based on age-and to provide participants with knowledge allowing them to function in modern society.

Two representatives of French phenomenology – Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Henri Maldiney – delineate an area of thought which Husserl did not, or rather did not work out completely, and they explore the potential of Husserl’s philosophy, revealing the significance of art in the phenomenological inquiry. At first glance, their reflections seem to be in opposition to one another, but Maldiney’s phenomenology turns out to be deeply rooted in that which is ‘not well thought out’ in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. Both Merleau-Ponty and Maldiney underscore the significance of our corporeal being in the world. They also radicalize Husserl’s thought. In The Visible and the Invisible, Merleau-Ponty describes the Chiasm – the intertwining of all dimensions of being, and he also describes untamed, innervated being, a living corporeal layer, leading to the very limits of philosophical language. Maldiney, meanwhile, attempts to study absolute receptivity, and thus the passivity of the subject, concentrating on the experiences of a crisis, uniquely understood, which in his view enables subjectivity to be constituted. Moreover, Maldiney criticizes perception as always being objectifying, recognizing experience or sensing (sentir) as the basis of our contact with the world. It is worth inquiring, however, whether the category of perception in Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology is not in the end strictly experiential, and thus significantly closer to Maldiney’s descriptions than he himself explicitly admits. We attempt to answer this question, concentrating on two main themes taken up by both French philosophers; on two shadows cast by both of them: the body and art.
The article concerns the normative value of truth in relation to lie. Based on arguments derived primarily from ancient philosophers (Eubulides, Plato, Aristotle), medieval philosophers (St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas), the thinker of the Renaissance – Machiavelli, the main philosopher of the Enlightenment – Kant, the 19th-century author of Beyond Good and Evil(Nietzsche), and contemporary thinkers such as Derrida and Lacan, the author considers here truth as a normative value. Lying is relative to the truth, and it has no ontological legitimacy, even it cannot exist without truth itself.

In the final part of the article, the author concludes that the truth, however, cannot lead to clearly bad effects, be harmful or cause pain disproportionate to the effects caused by a lie. Therefore, it must coexist with the good – the other parent value. Only when both values complement each other can we talk about the normative value of truth. The truth should be correlated with other values on which value systems are based, especially the good of a person or group of persons, avoiding harm towards others and the protection of a person’s health and life. Only then can the truth be appropriate to use. It is not an immovable foundation, but a dynamically functioning value, in which language and the ethical (active) dimensions provide the value of the specified situations. The truth can be a double-edged sword: It may hurt, but it can defend itself. The latter function seems to be the most important type of the normativity of truth.

Number 8/2014

Issue Topic: Dialogue, communication, education

List of abstracts

This article is an introduction to the philosophy of dialogue and communication. In the first part the central focus of discussion is the thought of Martin Buber, the problematic nature of the relation between “I” and “you” as well as the problem of responsibility. The conditions which should be fulfilled by real dialogue are also pointed out. Not every form of expression may be considered as such. Certain varieties of communication may assume the appearance of dialogue while not in fact being dialogue. Next, pedagogical moments of dialogue will be demonstrated along with the principle of partnership between subjects, which makes understanding possible. The article concludes with a presentation of dialogue and communication in the context of humanistic psychology, psychiatry and social economics, human capital and tolerance.
This work, referring to dialogical thought, concentrates on the philosophical category of speech as well as its resulting pedagogical implications. Speech appears here as an opening up of human existence towards that which is outside, and mankind himself as res loquens (listener and speaker), and not res cogitans (a solitary thinker). Taken in this sense, at the centre of the world of the human word there appears an existential drama defined by the reality of the listener and speaker. This is because the experience of human speech always means a need for the subject to play the role of questioner and answerer; the need to utter his or her “yes” or “no”.  Speech is also something which surrounds and pervades human existence, as it is not speech which resides in mankind, but mankind in speech. It is also for this reason that the anthropological formula res loquens should be recognized as a fundamental pedagogical category. For in its deepest sense, pedagogical influence refers us above all to the dialogical phenomenon of speech – speaking to others and answering others.
The problem formulated in the title is expressed in the author’s attempt to get closer to the specific “movement of thought” which would provide a clue as to what dialogue as a unique existential foundation manifests itself in and what neutralizes it or, rather, what is its complete opposite. Dialogue carries with it its own form of perception and understanding of the sense of what is one’s own and foreign, internal and external; this is a logic of the order of interpersonal states of things as well as of the dependencies and connections arising between them, which by this same measure underscore the possibility of possessing oneself (one’s own individuality), as well as of going beyond oneself towards others (readiness to act for others’ sake and in the name of/as a substitute for others). In this sense, it is possible to differentiate basic types of subjective representations (representation of oneself and representation of others) as well as their qualitative dimensions. Meanwhile, through examining the dialogical problem of forms of representation, one may point out various specific forms of correctness, peculiar algorithms of the world of human affairs and their accompanying relationships as well as specific examples describing the dialogical space of intersubjective relations.
The article deals with communication in the work of a physiotherapist. First, the question of communication as such is presented. Such aspects of communication have been singled out as: the speaker, the listener, code, interaction and others. In the communicative process, the role of imagination, outlook, exaggerations, thought patterns, etc. which have an influence on the quality of communication have all been highlighted. In the article, two basic aspects of communication are also considered: verbal and non-verbal. Next, the following problems are taken up: ethno-cultural principles in communication, the role of autonomy in the patient-physiotherapist relationship, the patient’s attitude towards physiotherapy and to his or her own illness as well as the physiotherapist’s attitude towards the patient as a member of medical personnel.  In further parts of the article, communication is discussed — as the title suggests — as a therapeutic tool in work with the patient. The article concludes with an enumeration and discussion of the most important barriers to and errors in communication.

The article concerns selected methods of communication of the physiotherapist with the patient. Discussed first are such characteristics of communication as: the speaker, message, channel, listener, interference, context and feedback. Next, features of the communication process which depend upon the communicative situation are discussed; that is: intentionality, relationality, awareness, interpretative quality, irreversibility, dynamism, creativity, transactional quality and inevitability. The next part of the article is devoted to a discussion of methods of communication in physiotherapy, such as: the interview, touch and vocal intonation. The article concludes with some notes for physiotherapists which may prove useful in perfecting communicative skills in patient relations.

Dialogue is an essential means of establishing appropriate contact between the doctor and patient. Professional ethics and the deeply-developed sense of empathy that goes alongside them allow the doctor to go beyond “invisible barriers” and enter a deeper sphere of human existence – the sphere of the soul, which is the principle space of dialogue in the mystery of suffering, dying and death.

In the dehumanizing process of modern medicine, it is typical for the doctor and not the sick patient to decide the role of illness and suffering, though it should be the reverse. The patient is brought down to the level of an object, to a unit of illness which must be diagnosed, treated and in such a way allowing the doctor to notch up another potential success.

Dialogue or the isolation of the ill, suffering and dying person are the real test of not only the medical ethos, but also of humanity and culture built by mankind (including the ill and dying), broadly understood. Only a personally detailed and soulful dialogue on hope and the meaning of suffering provides a chance for affirmation of the art of healing in the doctor-patient relationship.

Searching for the ideal of the doctor in his or her behaviour towards a dying person, it is necessary to point out the existence of an absolute ethical standard, unchanged for centuries and concerning not only doctors, but every human being. This is why the doctor’s ability to enter into personalistic dialogue, which brings the dying patient into a world of transcendental, and thus unbreakable values, opening a new horizon in front of him or her of the new prospect of an eternal dimension of life makes, at this critical and at the same time decisive moment, his or her life possible, and allows him or her to achieve hope and faith. This is not only about religious faith, but also (and perhaps first and foremost) faith in mankind, the belief that one is not left alone, and for everything which is ill, in the overwhelming suffering which he or she experiences there is a deep meaning not only for the ill person, but also for the people surrounding him or her, including the doctor himself.

Personalistic medical ethics are able to ensure authentic dialogue between the doctor and patient. The current crisis of humanity, values and interpersonal dialogue inclines us even more to accept the personalistic model of dialogue in medicine.

This article is concerned with educational problems of those who have immigrated to Great Britain. It begins with a discussion of the issues related to bilingualism and adaptation to new educational conditions. Next, an attempt is made to understand the essential elements of the British model of education, which contrasts theoretical and practical skills, and some attention is paid to the individual aspect of teaching and learning. The article concludes with a closer look at the structure of the English educational system.

Number 7/2014

Issue Topic: The lie, ethics of care, death

List of abstracts

The article describes the educational lie on the basis of research findings of the philosophers of the 20th century (Hannah Arendt, Józef Tischner). It also presents notes by the author concerning the lie’s probable origin. The consequences of the educational lie are long-term, and concern the individual and the whole society. It causes the erosion of citizens’ trust of themselves and the state, which distorts the functioning of important institutions. A diploma which is not supported by knowledge gives rise to complexes, aggression, pathology, and feelings of superfluousness.
The relationship between truth and the good is not so simple as to say that truth is always good. And then, consequently, a lie is not always bad. If lying could sometimes be good, this raises the issue of indicating and characterizing circumstances in which lies are ethically permitted or even desired. According to general ethical principles, all human behavior is right if its purpose is to maximize good or minimize evil. Such an ethical function of lies is possible only if the general rule is truthfulness, and lying is merely an exception (if telling lies becomes a rule, we will face the paradox of a liar). This does not mean that it is impossible to indicate and formulate a universal way of justifying lies as benevolent. Universalizing, as R.M.Hare has presented, is different from generalizing. Exceptional does not mean and is not the same as accidental or arbitrary. Truth-telling ought to remain the general principle, and lying may be ethically justified by universalizing circumstances in which it is good or right, even if such circumstances are exceptional.
The goal of this article is to show that a lie cannot exist without normative principles of truthfulness as its opposite. Moreover, the ethical dimensions of the lie mentioned in the title would be impossible to determine if it weren’t for this reference. In this article we first specify the nature of the lie and its relation to truth and truthfulness. Next, we show the ethical dimensions of the lie, such as the opposition between the lie and truthfulness, allowing for an understanding of the values of truthfulness, defensive lies and lies contained in artistic creation (fiction). In this last dimension of the lie, many times the artist or thinker reveals more truth than common social discourse is able to tolerate.

The lie is a complex phenomenon, ambiguous and dependent upon many factors, such as motivation, social sensitivity and situational context. Despite the fact that it stands in opposition to truth and truthfulness, it remains, however, related to both values.

The article analyses Ingarden’s conception of truth in literature. According to Ingarden, a literary work of art consists of so-called quasi-judgments that are neither true nor false, and their main function is to create an intentional world. But there is the problem of how to distinguish quasi-judgments from ordinary judgments. According to Ingarden, we can distinguish quasi-judgments by recognizing their content and form. In other words, quasi-judgments have a distinct and specific quality that can be grasped by the reader. Consequently, although truthfulness can be considered as an aesthetic category, in Ingarden’s approach it cannot be understood in terms of adequacy between a judgment and reality. Truthfulness, according to Ingarden, has an ontological character instead, which means that the intentional world created within the work of art replaces the real world completely and it absorbs the reader’s full attention.
This paper describes the approach of empirical ethics, a form of ethics that integrates non-positivist ethnographic empirical research and philosophy. Empirical ethics as it is discussed here builds on the ‘empirical turn’ in epistemology. It radicalizes the relational approach that care ethics introduced to think about care between people by drawing in relations between people and technologies as things people relate to. Empirical ethics studies care practices by analysing their intra-normativity, or the ways of living together the actors within these practices strive for or bring about as good practices. Different from care ethics, what care is and if it is good is not defined beforehand. A care practice may be contested by comparing it to alternative practices with different notions of good care. By contrasting practices as different ways of living together that are normatively oriented, suggestions for the best possible care may be argued for. Whether these suggestions will actually be put to practice is, however, again a relational question; new actors need to re-localize suggestions, to make them work in new practices and fit them in with local intra-normativities with their particular routines, material infrastructures, know-how and strivings.
This article aims to consider the question posed in the title on the possibility of deciding the method and time of our own death in contemporary times. Firstly, problems related to artificial extension of human life in situations of incurable disease and in the face of an aging society will be considered. The issues discussed include access to euthanasia as well as the limits of human autonomy in the context of the decision to hasten death, with particular consideration of persistent and futile treatment. Second, the issues of aging are developed against the background of various cultures and eras. The text concludes with some considerations on the possibility of using a living will and advance directives.

Number 6/2013

Issue Topic: Lacan, Shechita and The Myths of (Post)Modern Europe

List of abstracts

The theory created by Jacques Lacan, with solid roots in Freud’s thinking, is a valuable and necessary guide for the practice of psychoanalysis. Admittedly, Lacan’s texts give the impression of being an inaccessible, dense and difficult-to-master conceptual network, but when one begins the process of studying it, in place of this discouraging impression there arrives a desire for knowledge that will lead to the rules of conduct towards the subject, who comes to a session in order to say what is possible and wrestle with what cannot be said. Theoretical knowledge is also a guide for the formation of the psycholanalyst, who undergoes his own analysis up to the very end (the Pass procedure).

The subject of the following article will be a series of digressions from a practical perspective on such questions as: the transferential relationship and the psychoanalysts’ fight against transference, the desire of the subject for the Other, respect for the symptom jouissance, the game of the imaginary, symbolic and real registers, the make-up of a phantasm. These phenomena that arise in psychoanalysis are useful for the analyst only so far as he is able to place himself in the position of the Other. This allows him to conduct psychoanalytic discourse in which the analyst and the analyzed are unaware that they are indispensable partners to one another.

Sublimation creates a change in perspective through the use of an attractive object (e.g. cans of sardines). It transforms the imaginary relationship in relation to our ego with a relationship in which we are momentarily called out of and torn away from the imaginary circuit. Thanks to the attractive object, we look at ourselves sub specie aeternitatis. In contemplation, we share the point of view of eternity, from which we see ourselves as nothingness. However, the discovery of this nothing is at the same time removed from personal emotion and meaning, which belong to the imaginary circuit. In the imaginary order, this “nothing” of my desire does not leave me indifferent; it triggers various effects of sense (revolt, lamentation, cursing of life, strengthening of the narcissistic ego, etc.). Yet, together with sublimation, the effects of sense become neutralized, split up, immobilized. It is a moment of peace. Our life means nothing, but this fact that it means nothing is not in itself entirely nothing. We are removed from everything; we take part in the sovereign indifference of the world that surrounds us. Sublimation brings us into contact with the Thing, cleansed and emptied of all sense.

(excerpt)

In this article I attempt to trace the first stage of Lacanian theory regarding the subject in psychoanalysis. Working from the canonical text dedicated to the so-called “mirror stage”, I call attention to the phenomenological mediation of understanding of the subject by Lacan. The decisive experience is the identification of oneself with an entire and complete vision of one’s own ego – according to Lacan, this boils down to recognizing one’s own reflection in the mirror ­– which becomes the basis for all later identification. The essence of this experience, however, is that it reveals not the “real” face of the subject, but the awareness of the fictitiousness of this face. Nevertheless, this is a necessary fiction, and a condition for all human acts of cognition. Referencing Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of perception, I demonstrate how Lacan, taking a similar path, stepped outside the realm of traditional phenomenology. The subject ceased to be a transparent, self-supporting ego of perception, because – as the experience of psychoanalysis shows – it is entangled from the very beginning in the web of language.

This radical “weakening” of perception and of the Cartesian Cogito brings Lacan to the conclusion that an act of cognition, and consequently the entire system of human knowledge, is unable from the start to give any truth about the subject. This is because truth is not revealed in the undisturbed, pure realm of perception of cogito ergo sum. Difficult and complicated investigation into the truth of the subject brings one to the experience of psychoanalysis and its inconclusive character.

Finally, I show how Lacan, delving into the well-known Freudian thesis wo Es war, soll Ich warden, relocates the subject of psychoanalysis in the structure of speech. In other words, I will connect the entire range of possible interpretations of the subject with speaking and speech. It is in the structure of speech, and only through this structure that the subject’s ego can appear in language.

In this article I present various answers to the questions generated by psychoanalytical thought, which are sometimes quite contrary to each other. Besides describing concepts formulated by the father of psychoanalysis, I focus above all on Lacan’s ideas. It turns out that on many fundamental issues the positions of both thinkers are very different. It seems to me quite interesting to present and to compare these issues.
Judaism’s dietary rules |kashrut| are deeply rooted in the Torah. Shechita, as a traditional method of slaughtering, does not provide for the stunning of animals. The animals’ suffering evokes moral criticism within modern societies worldwide. This paper examines the procedure of shechita in its religious, biological, technological, and philosophical aspects.

Finally, two problems are highlighted. The first is a cognitive problem concerning stunning. Does shechita truly contain stunning as a natural or 'integral' element, as some documents claim? Or, by contrast, should Jewish communities follow European conventions, i.e. accept stunning as an additional element of the shechita procedure? Both options are examined here. Secondly, the animal’s protection against suffering prevails morally. However, Jewish tradition has always paid extraordinary attention to life and living beings. So it is still difficult to find strong arguments to convince Jewish communities to modernize the shechita procedure. The entire discussion remains open.

The seminar The Myths of (Post)Modern Europe as an educational model applied in Autorskie Licea Artystyczne i Akademickie [Authorial Artistic and Academic Secondary Schools] in Wrocław

The seminar entitled The Myths of (Post)Modern Europe is a narrative defined by the themes proper to modern society, such as identity, recognition and respect for the other. The principal educational objective of the seminar is to describe the situation of a man in a pluralistic society, and particularly to develop reflective and critical thinking. The phrasing ‘teaching the word through the word’ defines the didactic method used in the seminar, which is conversation informed by the philosophy of dialogue and Socratic dialogue.

Number 5/2013

Issue Topic: Philosophy of Death and Dying

List of abstracts

Inspirations to the development of thanatology as a separate field were cultural anthropology. A classic work, to which many researchers still refer is Robert Hertz Death and the Left Hand. Also the concept of rites de passage, van Gennep’s threefold structure of the ceremonies, is cited not only by anthropologists. The project of anthropothanatology was outlined by Thomas. French scientists have made the largest contribution to the early development of thanatology. They were first and foremost historians and philosophers. Now, though, French researchers such as Foucault, Baudrillard, Bataille and Kristeva are constantly present in the field, its leaders are English scholars. The main spheres of research in death studies are: funeral rituals, death in the context of the beliefs and religious practices, forms of mourning, memory and commemorate, death units in collective and public space, death in the media, dead bodies, bio-ethics. The author also follows the development of the Polish thanatology and characterizes the main concepts and methods.
The considerations are dealing with the issue of classical comprehension of the notion euthanasiain the ancient – Greek and Roman – times. Making use of source texts, all documented cases of the usage of the term euthanasia in the classical period are reconstructed and interpreted. The searching perspective of philosophical-axiolinguistic analysis was applied. The context of the undertaken considerations is the state of the present bioethical debate on the moral as well as legal status of an act/procedure called „euthanasia”. The axiosemantic  anarchism in the common understanding  of  the notion being considered seems to be a striking and destructive factor which is paralyzing any accurate discussion on the really existing dilemma of euthanasia within the heritage of Mediterranean  culture. The article is aimed at the clarification of the socially influential meanings of the term euthanasia, including the historical periodization of their changes and the suggestion of  return to the classical spectrum of  understanding of „good death” or „well-dying”, within which the best possible way of dying,  recognized as such in a given culture, is consciously chosen (or at least happily experienced by chance) by a dying beneficiary who is actualizing his/her human personal dignity this way at the same time.
In the article the author presents a philosophical interpretation of Thomas More The Utopia, in which More argues for the right to euthanasia. According to More euthanasia is a legal right for people, who cannot stand their suffering and whose illness is irrevocable according to the physicians. In such situations a State Committee agrees for the unpainful death. However, if the person refuses death, he/she must be treated as cheerful as before. This means, that according to More there is no contradiction between the right to euthanasia and the right to palliative medicine. Every ill person has the right to death or to treatment in their suffering; euthanasia against the will of the ill person is strictly forbidden in every case.
The first part introduces the topic of the living will viewed as a legal, ethical and social problem. It also treats of the connection between the community and the state as well as  bioethics and medicine. The next part discusses broadly the notions relevant to both understanding and explanation of the issues connected with the living will.

The issues are presented from the perspective of Polish as well as foreign authors. What is more, the distinction between the institution of living will and the group of documents called “advance directives” has also been made.

The following part concentrates on the presentation of problems connected with the legal bases of the living will present in the international legislation taking codification operating in the European Union into consideration. The following legal acts were chosen to the analysis: General Declaration of Human Rights in UN, the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights, Declaration of Patient Rights WHO, Convention about the Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, Convention about the Protection of Human and Human Creature’s Dignity applying to Biology and Medicine resolved by the European Council, Recommendations 779 and 1418 as well as Resolution 613 resolved by Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council and also by the European Union Card of Basic Rights.

The legal bases of the living will in Poland are presented in the next chapter. These bases result from the patient rights included, for instance, in: the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, the Act of Doctor’s Occupation and the Dentist’s Doctor, the Act of the Nurse and Midwife’s Occupations, the Act of Health Care Centers, Civil Code, and also the Code of Medical Ethics and Code of Processional Ethics of Polish Nurse and Midwife.

The thesis presents social foundations of implementation of the living will in Poland. It also contains a survey concerning the opinions about the living will gathered among varied age groups.

First, methodological research has been presented, its aims, problems and research hypotheses. The applied method is also discussed here. Furthermore, it contains analysis and the interpretation of the survey results concerning public opinion on the living will. On the basis of achieved information some conditions have been identified which, according to the surveyed, should be fulfilled in order that the living will could be force in Poland. It also shows the conditions that may have an influence on the attitudes of the society with reference to the document of living will in Poland.

Banal as it may sound, we will be pondering over death until the end of our lives. For the same amount of time, the responsibility for bringing new generations into the surrounding world will also rest on adults. Working with children cannot simply be a matter of improvisation and learning from experience. These may make up an element of professional development, but the basics of vocational experience – including the ability to hold a discussion and provide support in difficult situations – should be learnt by students as part of their vocational training. Here thanatopedagogy (death pedagogy) may help, as it has, among others, the task of helping teachers work with students when the latter are in mourning. Of course, in this situation there is no clear, ready recipe or point-by-point scenario to be followed. Dealing with loss, powerlessness, and suffering is a difficult art, especially since there seems to be no place in academic training for the cultivation of traits such as tolerance of frustration, awareness of one’s helplessness, unreciprocated relationships or the incompatibility of the role of teacher with other roles.

We require from our students conspectuses written according to general methodological principles. However, we forget to mention that the child with whom they will be working will not be an ideal student, a textbook example who always knows everything and how to do everything, who can construct, classify and put things into practice. Rather, this is a living child, who quite often doesn’t want to, doesn’t feel like it, cries, rebels, hurls insults, always has to go “pee-pee”, and outside in the sandbox throws sand in other children’s eyes… This is a child who feels, goes through experiences and very often asks “uncomfortable” questions which perhaps had not been foreseen in the conspectus, such as those about sex or death… And among this multitude of lists and classifications of qualifications it is often forgotten that a teacher – a full-grown person – must work with a small one not yet fully grown, and that his or her main goal is simply to teach the little one how to think… However, to achieve this one needs a readiness to provide wise, genuine and thoughtful answers to each and every question posed by a child.

tr. by Aniela Elizabeth Pramik